While the story itself doesn’t have an image, TheStreet, a “digital financial media company,” decided to illustrate its piece about the company Lululemon’s financial performance with a close-up of a woman’s rear end on its Facebook page:
After ThinkProgress asked for a comment on the use of the photo, the company took it down, saying, “TheStreet has decided to remove this image from its Facebook page after careful consideration.”
The story itself has nothing to do with women or even yoga pants, but about the company’s growth. It was recently added to Citigroup’s analyst coverage with a positive analysis, boding well for its outlook. The image of the woman, on the other hand, objectified her by barely showing her face and overly sexualizing her pose.
While some readers cracked jokes, many expressed outrage and said they were deeply offended:
One woman said, “I’m done. I’ll get my economic news somewhere else. I’m out.”
While TheStreet claims to “provide the most actionable ideas from the world of investing, finance and business in order to break down information barriers, level the playing field and help all individuals and organizations grow their wealth,” this image clearly put off many female (and male) readers.
And it’s part of a boys’ club on Wall Street that helps to keep women out. Women at Merrill Lynch say they were instructed to read a book on seducing their way to the top. Another suit against Goldman Sachs alleges a sexual assault on one of its female employees by a male one after a firm-sponsored outing to a topless bar. This culture makes women sex objects instead of valued coworkers.
While diversity on Wall Street may increase in good times, tough times like recessions tend to push them out. The Great Recession “marked one of the most thorough purges of women from the upper levels of Wall Street in memory,” Sheelah Kolhatkar writes in Bloomberg Businessweek. In fact, women have taken the fall for many misdeeds even though men were in charge.
This culture plays out in the numbers. Not a single financial services company has a female CEO, and women hold just 8.6 percent of executive officer jobs. The top six jobs with the biggest pay gap are in this industry. Women are more likely to show up in sexualized photos than in the top ranks of Wall Street’s biggest players.